I suspect the rivarly between Indian and Pakistani cricket sides is far fiercer than that of English and Australian ones, but that’s not to underestimate the Ashes battle. This series has demonstrated just how much that little urn – it really is tiny – means to Britons and Australians.
Aussies, especially their cricket teams, have historically always hated this country, despite them coming in their droves to live and work here (who can blame them?! Friendly banter there, don’t you be taking any offence now). So I was intrigued to see a headline at The Age of: Put Pom-bashing aside and give England credit. [link]
I was then put into instant shock when I saw the author, none other than Michael Vaughan. Alas, it is not he-who-looks-like-an-accountant-but-actually-captains-England-with-great-imagination fame. For so long now, 18 years, Britons and English cricket fans have suffered at the hands of the fervent Australian cricket fan. Simon Jones, famously, was called a “weak pommy bastard” after ripping/tearing/snapping his knee on the last winter Ashes tour on those shores. And he still talks about it, as well he might; not only has he transformed himself into a superb exponent of reverse-swing, but his side are now able to silence these pommy-bashers who for so long revelled in England’s limp Ashes efforts. There’s nowt limp or weak about this English side, as Michael Vaughan (the author of this article) concedes:
The Australians have beaten all-comers over a long time, but this time they have been comprehensively outplayed, despite the close finishes, and it’s about time we put aside our penchant for Pommy-bashing and delivered credit where it’s due.
As much as it pains me to say it, England is the new Australia. Matthew Hayden is a good example of the out-of-form/outplayed conundrum.
To those Australians who question why I’m making such a deal of gaining the respect of Australia as a people, you have to understand what Britons have been through. It isn’t so much the losing that we hated, nor being outplayed. Every. Series. It was the total lack of respect Australia showed us. “England didn’t deserve it!” you cry. Maybe, but lack of respect arguably hurts the most, and it is perhaps this reason alone which makes this summer taste all the sweeter. Glenn McGrath’s comments of a 5-0 whitewash. Hayden’s uber-confidence which, remarkably, has continued unabated even at this late stage of the series. Mark Waugh writing England off (“seen it all before.”). Peter Roebuck saying, well…you can well imagine.
As I’ve said all along, whatever the end result may be, let us just earn the respect of Australia. And we’ve done it. That’s what’s made my summer.
As an Australian, Indian, Icelander, Englishman, West Indian or any other nationality, what about this series has made it for you?